Cheese is among the top foods for versatility, taste, and flavor. There are tons of different types of Cheese to choose from, and each one has its use and purpose. The most popular ones include Mozzarella, Blue Cheese, cheddar cheese, Feta cheese, and Cotija. Cotija and Feta cheese are often confused by many because of the number of similarities.
Cotija and Feta have a similar texture, appearance, and mouthfeel. But they also have many differences that set them apart. These include the source from which they are produced, their taste, and the time for which they are aged. It would be best to keep in mind that each batch of Cheese might be different from the other.
This difference comes from variability in processing methods and the period for which each batch is stored. Some producers like to store it for longer, while others prefer to age it for the minimum amount of time. These factors, along with others, make each batch of Cheese unique.
However, some differences are prevalent in the same kinds of Cheese, and today we will discuss those. So please keep reading to find out the differences between Cotija and Feta!
The Main Differences
There are plenty of differences we can talk about when discussing these two types of Cheese. But the most important and stark difference is the source from which each one is produced. Feta cheese is usually made using sheep milk; this is the traditional way of making Feta.
On the other hand, Cotija is made using cow milk; This might not seem like a big difference, but the result of using different types of Cheese is surprising. The type of milk affects the taste, and it also affects the texture of the Cheese.
The place of origin for these two types of Cheese is also different. Feta, used in the world-famous Greek salad, comes from Greece. On the other hand, Cotija hails from Mexico, a popular food item used in various dishes and consumed on its own. It would help if you also remembered that Feta is a brined variety of Cheese, while Cotija is not.
How to Make Cotija
The traditional and old way of making Cotija involves using fresh milk in raw form (not processed), salt, and Rennet. Don’t panic if you are hearing the name Rennet for the first time, and it is an enzyme used while making Cheese. Rennet is an acid-producing enzyme that converts milk into Cheese by facilitating curd formation.
The process of curd formation is simple. When you add this enzyme (Rennet) to the milk, it acts quickly and coagulates all the whey protein present in the milk. Casein is a slow-digesting protein present in milk alongside whey protein. After the curds are properly formed and separated from the whey, they are removed and pressed; the final result is large cylinders of Cotija cheese that are aged for around twelve months.
How to Make Feta
Feta cheese is made in a similar way to Cotija, but there are some differences. The first difference in Feta making is the type of milk used; you need sheep’s milk to produce Feta. However, you can also use a blend of sheep and goat milk.
But it would help if you kept in mind not to use too much goat milk. The general rule is to use no more than 30% goat milk and around 70% sheep milk. And this is the way Feta is produced traditionally. But in some countries, people also make Feta using cow milk, but this is not true in Europe, where most Feta comes from sheep or goat milk.
The main difference in making Feta and Cotija is the addition of lactic acid-forming bacteria. These bacteria are added to fresh sheep and goat milk, and they start doing their magic. The Rennet is added to form curds when the bacteria have done their job.
The final step in making Feta is to put the curds into a mold (where it can sit for a couple of days so that it takes the shape of the mold), and you’ll end up with blocks of Feta. But the Feta is still not ready to be used; You need to age it well and quickly so that it can settle and the taste can be developed.
The aging is done after salting the Cheese and putting it into a wooden or metallic vessel for a couple of days. This salted Cheese is then transferred into a container containing brine (salt solution), where it will rest for a longer period, around eight weeks to one year.
The main factor in using Feta and Cotija is that both of these cheeses are non-melting, which means they are perfect toppings to be added on salads or other dishes. Cotija is Mexican Cheese, so naturally, it forms an integral part of Mexican cuisine. As it is a non-melting cheese, you must add it at the end of the cooking process to avoid drying out and damaging its texture and consistency.
Feta is a versatile cheese that you can use with various foods. It has a Greek origin and is used frequently in Greek-styled dishes. Other than that, you can also use Feta in salads, pasta, pizza, and tacos. But if you are not in a mood to cook, you can eat Feta on its own or with a piece of bread.
Taste and Texture
The main difference between Feta and Cotija is the amount of moisture each one holds. Feta is a cheese stored in a brine solution, so naturally, it has a higher moisture content than Cotija. Also, Cotija is aged for longer, so there is more time for the moisture to escape. Cotija is known for its milky flavor, while Feta usually has a tangy or zesty flavor.
So What’s the Difference Between Cotija and Feta?
- Cotija is a Mexican cheese, so it is used more frequently in Mexican cuisine, while Feta is a Greek cheese and is used frequently in Greek-styled dishes.
- Cotija is known for its milky flavor, while Feta usually has a tangy or zesty flavor.
- Cotija is made using cow’s milk, while Feta is made with goat and sheep milk.
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